Updated on 09/15/2011 1:23PM

Ailing Exogenous is euthanized

Michael J. Marten

ELMONT, N.Y. - Exogenous, the 3-year-old filly who suffered severe head trauma when she fell just before joining the post parade for the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park, was euthanized early Friday morning after she was overcome by swelling of the brain.

Dr. Nancy Brennan, the attending veterinarian, said the official cause of death was "head trauma with secondary hemorrhage of the brain." Brennan said the hemorrhaging caused Exogenous to have multiple seizures Thursday night and Friday morning. Brennan said that blood tests showed signs of an infection and that Exogenous was suffering from colic on Thursday night, which she passed around 9 p.m.

Exogenous, owned and bred by Vernon Heath's Centaur Farms Inc., and trained by Hall of Famer Scotty Schulhofer, was to be sent to New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania for a necropsy, Brennan said.

Exogenous reared up and fell while walking onto the track for the Distaff and hit her head hard on the ground. After being treated with tranquilizer and anti-inflammatories, Exogenous was removed from the track on an equine ambulance and transported back to her barn.

By late afternoon on Oct. 27, Exogenous was standing up and was munching on hay and drinking water. She showed improvement through Tuesday before she lay down in her stall in the early hours of Wednesday morning. She never got back up.

"She had violent episodes of seizure activity and she was still unable to stand," said Brennan, who took over as lead veterinarian in the absence of Dr. Stephen Carr, who left Thursday for Kentucky to attend a conference. "We decided in the best interests of the filly, being down for more than 48 hours, this morning at 3:50, to euthanize her. The champion that she was, her desire to live was great just to survive the Saturday incident this long.

"She had complications, a little bit of colic last evening," Brennan added. "We got over that hurdle where she was comfortable, passing some manure at 9 o'clock at night. Then her condition deteriorated to the point where she deserved the dignity of not hurting herself."

Randy Schulhofer, assistant trainer to his father Scotty, said Exogenous "had lost her coordination a little bit and her strength. It looked good for a while, but she wasn't getting any better."

Exogenous, a daughter of Unbridled, put herself in contention for the 3-year-old filly championship with victories in the Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap and the Grade 1 Beldame. In the Beldame, she defeated division leader Flute as well as several top older horses including Spain. Exogenous also finished second in the Alabama and Coaching Club American Oaks and third in the Mother Goose. For her career, Exogenous posted a 5-4-1 record from 12 starts and earned $945,560.

"I think she's a champion, naturally," Randy Schulhofer said. "She danced a lot of dances, she showed up every time. She was getting better as she got a little older. The way [the Distaff] came out the other day, I think she's head of the class. It was a bad day for us and for racing. You hate to lose the stars."

Heath, who has owned and bred horses for 15 years, said Exogenous was the best horse he ever owned.

"It's a real downer," Heath said from Minnesota, where he owns an office systems business. "Not only was she my best horse, she was championship material and she was bred to be a champion broodmare. It's a tragedy. She was just getting stronger too."